Dr Joseph Sweetman


Research interests

Broadly speaking, my research focuses on the way people think, feel, and act in relation to political and moral issues. Some of my research questions include: 

How do we think and act in relation to social hierarchy? Forms of social hierarchy based on gender, class, or race are ubiquitous in human socities. I'm interested in examining how these systems of group-based hierarchy and opression are maintained and alterted through political thought and action. My work in this area has examined the role of emotions such as admiration and the key role of ideology in regulating systems of social hierachy.

What constitutes our moral knowledge? Why are some actions morally permissible while other, very similar actions (e.g., in terms of outcomes), are not. I am interested in explaining how we make judgments of the deontic status of an unlimted array of actions, characters, and institutions. This is a relatively new line of research and I am drawing on insights from dual process and moral grammar accounts of moral cognition. 

How do people think about future societies and forms of social organisation and how does this influence political action? I'm interested in the "radical imagination" and the role that imagining alternatives (e.g., "another world is possible") plays in political action and changes to systems of group-based hierarchy and opression.

What evidence-based contribution can social psychology make to tackling social problems? Inspired by Kenneth and Mamie Clark and Ignacio Martín-Baró, I am interested in the potential for psychological science to inform evidence-based social polcies in areas such as inequality, health and climate change. My initial work in this programme of research has been examining the evidence for current forms of equality and diversity training interventions within higher education.


2014: £5,000 Equality Challenge Unit - evaluation of unconcious bias training.

2010: ESRC visiting scholar award.

2006-2011: ESRC 1 + 3 Doctoral research studentship.

Back | Top of page | Edit Profile | Refresh page